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Collaborative effort wakens ‘tired’ country house

The kitchen space at the rear was already part of the Treat family house, but the foreground is a new extension. What appears to be a hutch, at left, is a built-in unit with a small beverage refrigerator, a dishwasher hidden behind a wooden front, and a small bar sink.
The kitchen space at the rear was already part of the Treat family house, but the foreground is a new extension. What appears to be a hutch, at left, is a built-in unit with a small beverage refrigerator, a dishwasher hidden behind a wooden front, and a small bar sink. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Teri and Matt Treat knew they wanted more room and a general overhaul of their country house between Ferndale and Lynden, but they didn’t want to go overboard, for good reason.

Their house sits on 11 acres that includes horse pasture and a horse-riding area.

“We love our land, we love our location, so we really didn’t want to move,” Teri Treat says. “We didn’t want anything big, but we wanted to honor what we had.”

They built their nearly 1,900-square-foot house 25 years ago, before they had children. With their son getting older, they wanted more “family space” and wanted to refresh and modernize the interior.

The Treats are part-owners of the Waples Mercantile Building in downtown Lynden, so they are familiar with construction projects and design concepts. When it came time a few years ago to redo their house, they turned to Jeff Ziels of Bellingham, a contractor with a strong background in cabinetmaking. Teri Treat knew Ziels’ father, and their children both attend Assumption Catholic School.

It’s a lot of time and energy and money, so to really enjoy the end result is really great.

Teri Treat, co-owner of remodeled house

The Treats and Ziels worked closely together, often over coffee and usually with Matt and Jeff conferring about design ideas and Teri focusing on interior details and finishes.

“The process always starts out as purely professional, but over time it grows more personal,” Ziles says. “Teri and Matt became good friends.”

Ultimately, they decided to add nearly 500 square feet for a mudroom and for family space next to the kitchen. A new patio added nearly 150 square feet of covered space outdoors.

They replaced the carpeting, refinished the wooden floors and kitchen cabinets, installed a high-efficiency furnace, repainted the interior, and added modern kitchen and bathroom fixtures to liven up a house that Teri Treats says had grown “tired.”

Ziels used his woodworking background to build kitchen and bathroom cabinets that have the appearance of fine furniture. The cabinets provide needed storage without consuming too much space.

“That’s so important in a smaller footprint,” Teri Treat says.

Start to finish, the project took about 14 months, with Ziels and the subcontractors coming by frequently.

“It becomes a very personal relationship; you get up in the morning and they show up,” Teri Treat says. “It’s a lot of time and energy and money, so to really enjoy the end result is really great.”

Home Makers

Contractor: Jeffrey Ziels Woodworking, jeffreyzielswoodworking.com

Electrical: JM Electric, Dan Clapper, 360-410-0328

Floors: M & M Hardwood Floors, 360-303-9486

Painting: Prism Painting, 360-733-4122

Plumbing: Spectrum Plumbing and Heatling, 360-739-9207

Tile: Colman Tile and Stone, 360-336-8781

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